Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs and Migration commissioned
The visiting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Wednesday assisted Mr Ignatius Bafuor Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, to commission the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration in Accra.
The Centre, situated in the building of the GNAT Heights at Ridge, would serve as a point of contact for people looking for prospects in Ghana and also offer individual counselling for returnees who need support with their social and occupational reintegration.
Ghanaians in search of vocational training and employment opportunities can also visit the Centre for assistance as it would present unique opportunities and access to networks of German cooperation and other organisations.
The brief commissioning ceremony before the departure of President Steinmeier on Wednesday afternoon was addressed by Mr Bafuor Awuah and the Secretary of State of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Friedrich Kitschelt.
Also at the ceremony was Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who was described as a “German Returnee” for his well integration into the Ghanaian system and leading the setting up of the Cardiothoracic Centre, Ghana’s foremost Heart Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Mr Bafuor Awuah said: “The Centre will be a centre of excellence that will deepen the collaboration between Ghana and Germany. We are actually taking our level of cooperation to a different level altogether, a very high level.
“It will be a centre where Ghanaians who have travelled out and for one reason or the other will want to come back home, will come and seek advice as to how best they can take advantage of the opportunities locally”.
He said because of Ghana’s lower income levels, people would always like to move to places of higher income earning so some Ghanaians were seen going to Europe and other countries for economic reasons.
Mr Bafuor Awuah said the venture also exposed the people to so many risks, since some often did their travelling through unapproved routes through the desert and the Mediterranean, with some losing their lives.
He cited the example of the recent Libya issue, where some migrants were being subjected to inhumane treatment, saying; “President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has totally condemned that act.
“What the President seeks to do, is to build the local economy so that Ghanaians will have confidence and stay here, Ghanaians will have jobs to do, not just jobs but decent jobs that will actually accord them the rights of a worker and also earn them incomes, which are living incomes. That is what the President is committed to.”
He said while that process was still on the way, there was the need to regulate the system, and the Migration Centre would be the best link to offer advice to Ghanaians who want to do proper migration to Germany and other countries.
The Minister said Ghana would also continue to tap the knowledge and expertise of countries like Germany in technical, vocational, educational training, medicine, and renewable energy “until we are able to build our local capacities”.
“I want to assure you that we will be committed to our part of the agreement to ensure that we make Ghanaians interested in Ghana, and stay in Ghana and work in Ghana,” Mr Bafuor Awuah said.
Dr Kitschelt, on his part, said the Centre would be operated under the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Ghana.
He said over the many years of cooperation with Ghana, Germany had invested about two billion Euros in building a sustainable economic future for Ghana.
In the last two years, another 156 million Euros had been added to offer broad-based opportunities for Ghanaian residents and returnees alike, he said.
Dr Kitschelt said the Centre would offer information and more assistance to people living in Ghana to better integrate in the labour market through trainings, assistance, job opportunities and start-ups.
Returnees who voluntarily returned to Ghana would be assisted, he said, adding; “Nobody returning to Ghana will return as a loser.”
Information would also be provided to Ghanaians on the proper way of legal migration, Dr Kitschelt said.
The Job and Migration Centre is a cooperative venture between the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the GIZ.